05-24-08 - 2

I made the Molten Chocolate Cake Recipe from Joy of Baking the other day. It kind of sucks. I mean it's okay, but it's not what I consider a Molten Choco Cake at all, it's really just a soufflay. A proper Molten Chocolate Cake should be dense and rich, cooked crispy on the outside, dense and rich, and then almost liquid (but not quite) in the middle. It shouldn't be dry or tough on the edges, which is quite common in restaurants.

I've never really found a great Molten Choco Cake recipe, but you get a pretty good result just by making a good flourless brownie recipe and cooking it too hot in a small ramekin for a shorter time. Cook at 400 instead of the regular 350, and around 15 minutes in a typical ramekin.

BTW I like Jacques Pepin's brownie recipe from Fast Food My Way, but he has an error. He says to toast the hazelnuts for 5 minutes at 350. That produces a semi-raw hazelnut which is quite disgusting. A better hazelnut roast is 13-14 minutes at 325. You may need to experiment a bit with your oven because nuts go from perfectly toasted to burned very quickly. Don't worry about the nuts roasting further inside the brownie - they won't. In general in the majority of baking recipes you want to go ahead and use fully roasted nuts in the batter, don't use raw nuts, because inside the batter the nuts will not cook much at all. With something like a quick bread you should use nuts that are 75% roasted.

I think the soufflay style actually is authentic with the original "molten chocolate cake", that's just now what I want. Also there is a whole world of tweaking I've never explored. If you start with any soufflay style recipe, you can make it more or less dense by tweaking what you do with the egg whites. At one extreme you make proper stiff peaks and fold it gently, at the other extreme you just stir in the liquid egg whites with no beating. In between you could do things like whisk just to soft peaks and stir it in without folding.

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